What to Expect at a Natural Health Practice + Tips for Your Appointments
Most natural health medical practices and offices operate in a way that is reflective of the core tenets of natural health, as your appointments will be comprised of several key elements.
If you are new to natural health, or are just embarking on your own natural healing journey, you may wonder what to expect at a natural health practice and how you should prepare for your appointments. This article will help to answer some of those questions and give you a bit of further insight.
What to Expect
As a general rule, most appointments with a natural health practitioner will involve a degree of the following:
- Lengthy initial appointment time: your first “new patient” or “new client” appointment is usually around 45 minutes to an hour and a half long. This is so that the practitioner is able to assess your health history, get to know you a bit further, gain a thorough understanding of your current state of health, and address your current questions and concerns thoroughly.
- Overview and explanation of lab results: depending on your specific case, most practitioners will order initial and follow up labs to assess your current and evolving physiological state. This can involve anything from blood work to gut testing to genetic testing and more. Your practitioner will go over the labs with you in detail and explain what each component of them means in relation to your case.
- Thorough question and answer dialogue: your natural health practitioner/s is your guide throughout your healing journey so feel free to ask as many questions as you wish. Make sure that you feel confident in your understanding of your healing protocol and what will be required of you. Remember that your practitioner is there to teach and guide you, so invest yourself in gaining as much knowledge about your health status and treatment strategies as possible.
- Your partner in healing: your natural health practitioner is your partner, cheerleader, guide, educator, and confidant throughout your healing process. That said, you are still the star player in your healing journey, responsible for taking the initiative with all of the necessary steps for your healing.
- Thorough explanation of your treatment plan and protocol: your practitioner will give you a detailed explanation of all of the elements that you will be implementing as part of the healing protocol that they have designed for you. This can involve a wide range of things, often including various nutritional supplements, dietary guidelines, lifestyle adjustments, possibly medications if needed, and any other treatment techniques that they feel will be the most effective and helpful to you in your healing.
- In-office treatments: a lot of practitioners will offer various treatment techniques in their office such as IV therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, applied kinesiology, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, etc. You will utilize these various in-office therapies per your unique healing protocol. Again, always feel free to ask as many questions as you wish.
- In-office dispensary: many natural health practitioners house an in-office dispensary where you can acquire most of your recommended/prescribed supplements and additional such necessities before you leave from your appointment. Feel free to ask about pricing so you are aware of the costs beforehand and can prepare accordingly. If the healing agent is not provided at the practice itself, your practitioner will instruct you where to best acquire all of your protocol necessities.
Tips for Preparing for Your Appointments
- Make a list of all of your symptoms and your questions
While new patient forms will usually cover symptoms quite thoroughly, it is also helpful to write down all of your symptoms as well as all of the questions that you have for your practitioner and bring that list with you to your first appointment. This helps to ensure that all of your initial concerns are addressed at the onset.
Continuing to bring your evolving list of questions to subsequent appointments is also helpful. This aids in keeping you on track and ensures that you cover everything you intend to.
- Write out your health history including important time periods, milestones, etc
In addition to your symptoms and questions, it is also helpful to write an overview of your health history to bring with you. Include significant dates, turning points, past treatments and practitioners, etc in your narrative so that the practitioner can acquire a thorough background. This is very important for an accurate assessment of your case.
Health history should be a part of your new patient forms that you will fill out prior to your first appointment, but always have your main write-up as well if you felt as though some important details weren’t covered on the form.
This is also helpful if you are seeing multiple practitioners as you can use the same main write-up for all of them.
The act of writing out your health history also helps you to better understand and conceptualize key components of your case and helps you organize your thoughts in regard to explaining your circumstances to the best of your ability.
- Bring along someone that you trust if possible such as a friend or family member
It can also be advantageous to bring someone that you trust along with you to your initial appointments if that is possible. This is helpful for being sure you cover everything you intended and to help you feel more comfortable.
When trying to manage common symptoms of illness and chronic illness such as brain fog, anxiety, and migraines, having some additional help in absorbing the new information and articulating your questions and concerns can really make it a bit easier for you.
This is not a necessity of course, so if this is not possible, no worries, your lists will be of help for sure.
- Make sure you are well-informed about the costs involved and payment procedures at the practice you are going to
Laws and regulations vary greatly from state to state in the United States, as some forms of natural healthcare are covered by insurance in some states and others are not. Some practitioners do not accept insurance even if their form of healthcare can be covered in your state.
It is important to be informed of these details before arriving to your first appointment so that you are well-informed and can prepare accordingly.
Furthermore, it is always helpful to inquire about exact initial costs such as the cost of a new patient appointment etc. The cost of a new patient appointment is usually higher than your subsequent appointments will be, as they last a bit longer.
Some practitioners have a set fee and others have varying fees, depending on the length of each appointment.
Once you are at your appointment, feel free to ask about all of the costs involved in the labs and treatments that are being recommended to you. If the practitioner themselves is not completely aware of what these current costs are, their office staff will be.
Sometimes, if the practice themselves does not accept insurance, you can submit certain lab work or treatment invoices separately on your own that may be covered so do look into this.
If you are on a strict budget, inform your practitioner of this from the beginning, so that they may prioritize your labs and treatment recommendations to suit your budget.
- Remain open
Some of the concepts, perspectives, and treatment approaches may seem foreign to you at first. Natural healthcare practitioners have a different way of going about the treatment process than a lot doctors and practitioners that you may have seen before.
It is important to consciously remain open throughout this process and be willing to learn and participate.
Natural healthcare is getting to the core underlying cause of your illness and considering and treating all of the many aspects that make up your whole picture. Lean in and enjoy the learning process.
We’ve explored most of the main elements that are involved within most natural health practices. A little bit of preparation for your appointments as explained above can go a long way in allowing you to get the most out of your time at your chosen healthcare facility.
Always remember that you should only stick with a practitioner if you feel comfortable and as though it is “the right fit.” If you don’t feel as though a practitioner will suit your needs after your first few appointments with them, it is important to look for a different practitioner.
Having the right practitioner or set of practitioners for your unique healing journey is a huge component of the process so you’ll want to make sure you feel good about whom you have selected.
It can be overwhelming at first as you begin your healing journey, but as you become more and more acclimated, and start to see the wonderful transformations in your health that natural healthcare can help facilitate, it becomes super exciting and rewarding.
I wish you all of the best on your healing journey and may optimal health and wellness be yours now and always 💜.